Better Off Today? Don't Ask
Sometimes in politics it is the little questions that throw you.
That thought came to mind as I watched some of President
It was the famous question that
Amazingly, Team Obama sounded like they weren't sure. On
Senior Strategist David Axelrod showed similar reluctance on "Fox News Sunday," saying only that we're in a "better position" than we'd be under Republican rule.
Yikes. Talk about not receiving The Memo. Team Obama's usually efficient message machine sounded like they were caught on the horns of an unfortunate incumbent's dilemma: You don't want to sound too gloomy, because voters will blame the bad news on you. And you don't want to sound too cheery or voters will think you're out of touch with their miserable realities.
Needless to day, Republican nominee
By then, everybody in Team Obama was on the same page again with firm declarations of the answer they should have given in the first place. As Vice President
Are we better off than four years ago? Politically, the exact numbers are less important than how voters feel -- and a lot of us are feeling pretty miserable these days. An
That means, depending on whether you view that glass as half empty or half-full, 58 percent think we're doing the same or better -- or that 69 percent think we doing the same or worse.
With numbers like that, it is remarkable that Obama and Romney have been running about even for months, with Obama slightly ahead in the battleground states. If Obama were running against a less charismatically challenged candidate, his campaign probably would be in much more serious trouble by now.
As the Democratic convention opened, Romney was not showing much of a bump in the polls after his own party's convention. He was running ahead of Obama in public perceptions of his ability to improve the economy but behind on such measures as how well he understands the problems of ordinary people.
That's why Team Obama's fumbling response to the "better off" question is a measure of the challenges that the president faces in a time of economic uncertainty and record deficits. As much as candidate Obama promoted "hope" and "change" four years ago, Team Obama this year stokes fear of what change to a new president could bring.
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Better Off Today? Don't Ask | Politics
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